Over the years, a few key concepts have driven my approach to leading projects, programs and portfolios. Chief among them is change.\u00a0Consider the definition of a project:\n\n\n"A project can be defined as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service\u201d - Project Management Institute\n\n\nProjects always effect change - creating something new or different. \u00a0Even the exertion to create brings change.\u00a0 Plus, we live in a world of constant change \u2013 change that can and will impact our projects. Understanding the many expressions \u2013or faces \u2013 of change can improve our ability to lead them well. Let\u2019s review the seven faces of change in a project, and strategies I\u2019ve found effective in handling change.\u00a0\n\nChange produced by a product\n\nBy definition, projects produce change. \u00a0This is the first of two categories and has three faces.\n\n\n1. Intended\n\n\nIntended Change results from clearly understood project goals, scope and requirements. \u00a0Project efforts rightly focus here. \u00a0\u201cThe new ABC\u00a0software will be installed, configured and implemented for XYZ department,\u201d reflects intended change in a project scope.\n\n\n2. Extended\n\n\nExtended Change results from the impacts of the Intended Change. \u00a0Often implied in projects, these \u2019ripple effects' tend to point to needed adoption and process changes that extend beyond the project scope, but are usually anticipated.\u00a0 For example, \u201cXYZ Department will need extra staff in the short term due to slow downs from learning to use the new software.\u201d\n\n\n3. Unintended\n\n\nUnintended Changes often result from a lack of adequate scoping, requirements, or planning. \u00a0Whether missed or simply too obscure to see, Unintended Change becomes the bane of projects. \u00a0For example, \u201cThe new ABC software doesn\u2019t address part of the workflow for XYZ Department and requires the department to create a manual workaround.\u201d Ouch. This miss in scope will force unintended and unwanted change.\n\nChange introduced to a project\n\nWhile projects produce change, change will also be introduced to the project. \u00a0This second type of change and its faces makes a project much more challenging.\n\n\nPurposeful\n\n\nPurposeful changes introduced to a project can be motivated negatively or\u00a0positively. \u00a0Both require keen attention by project leadership.\n\n\n1. Negative change\n\n\nWoodrow Wilson said, \u201cIf you want to make enemies, try to change something.\u201d\u00a0 Project stakeholders may resist the project\u2014i.e., seek to change the change! Sometimes resistance is as sub-conscious and subtle as procrastination or complaining. \u00a0Sometimes it is direct: stakeholders pushing to eliminate, delay, or diminish project scope.\n\n\n2. Positive change\n\n\nAs a project progresses, potential changes to improve the project outcomes may also be identified and proposed. \u00a0For example, a stakeholder realizes that a new application can be modified using a little extra effort to address an additional workflow.\u00a0\n\n\nUnexpected\n\n\nOur projects, which produce change, also occur in a world that is unpredictable and always changing. \u00a0These changes can be external or internal to the project.\n\n\n3. External\n\n\nLeadership continually vies for priority, budget, and resources for projects. Emergencies can derail projects.\u00a0 Organizations face changing priorities, economics, revenues, regulation, etc. \u00a0 For example, a company having a bad quarter may lay off contractors and thus slow down progress on important projects, or force a reduction in scope.\n\n\n4. Internal\n\n\nUnexpected things happen within projects as well. \u00a0Each person involved in a project is a change waiting to happen. \u00a0Health issues. \u00a0Job changes. Personal conflicts. Misunderstood requirements.\u00a0 For example, a key project team member is injured in a car accident and is out from work for several weeks. Beyond the people involved, project technology or equipment can also unexpectedly break.\u00a0\n\nThinking change\n\nMost of us have experienced all seven faces of change - and often within the same project. Unfortunately, organizations tend to ignore some of these faces in their project management methods and tools. \u00a0What if we instead considered all seven faces of change in every project?\u00a0 What might that look like? \u00a0How many disasters might we avert, or at least manage better?\n\n\nTo wrap up, consider how you might apply some of the following recommendations.\n\n\nAnticipate -\u00a0Expect all seven faces of change every project\u2014and be pleasantly surprised when some don\u2019t occur! \u00a0Be proactive in exploring the faces of change. \u00a0Always be on the alert. \u00a0This is not pessimism, but an acknowledgement that change is not something to be avoided, but a reality to be navigated.\u00a0\nExpand - Think about change beyond the start date and go live date. Our charters should consider all possible change before a project is ever approved. \u00a0Projects should be considered complete when the product\/service being produced is part of the normal, ongoing work of the organization. This focus on the \u2018new normal\u2019 will foster better buy-in and adoption.\nCooperate - Prioritize communication, listening, and respect in and between departments, groups, teams, vendors, etc. Changes can be identified\u00a0and handled more quickly this way. \u00a0Misunderstandings can be averted.\u00a0 People will also be more willing to work together to address challenges.\nLearn - Look at your growth in project management through the lens of change.\u00a0 Which of the seven faces are you weakest at identifying and addressing in your projects? \u00a0What soft skills and best practices can be pursued to improve your abilities?\nAdapt - Does your organization\u2019s project management methodology take into account all seven faces? \u00a0If so, how can you improve? \u00a0If not, how can you fill the gaps?\nIterate \u2013 Investigate using an iterative approach (such as Agile) for reducing unwanted changes and focusing on desired changes in short cycles. \u00a0It does not eliminate all undesirable changes, but it can reduce them.\nIntegrate \u2013 An integrated approach to project, program, and portfolio management creates needed visibility into all seven faces of change. \u00a0Without it, projects often happen in silos and teams become reactive, hoping that no unidentified influences produce unwanted change. \u00a0 \u00a0\n\n\nChoose a current project. \u00a0Assess all seven faces. \u00a0Do you have the risk of potential negative changes? \u00a0Do you have changes that are not being handled well? \u00a0If so, act now.\u00a0 Pursue one or more of the recommendations, and think change as you manage your projects.